Dr. Kim’s Blog

Dr. Kim Okamura Welcome to my blog! This blog is a product of my love of dentistry. I dedicate it to all the patients I have served so that they may better understand my craft. The information here will give you and others the power to maintain and protect one of your most priceless gifts ... your SMILE. Happy reading!
We all age in different ways - and our teeth are no different. As the years pass, our pearly whites need slightly different types of care, and there are new concerns to watch out for. Are you aware of what your smile needs from you? The simplest way to stay in touch with your oral health is to schedule routine exams every six months. But the way that you treat your teeth and gums in between these appointments is what dictates the state of your health when you visit the office. If you’re over the age of 60, the tips below might prove especially beneficial as you carry out your home care. Unsure about a change you’ve noticed in your mouth? Get in touch today to put any worries to rest. Common Dental Problems for Seniors (And Their Solutions) Dry mouth - If your mouth isn’t producing enough saliva, the oral environment isn’t ...
Your toothbrush is on its last legs - the bristles are splayed side to side, and the blue indicator stripe has all but disappeared. So do you just grab another regular toothbrush from the drugstore, or is it time for something more advanced? If you've never used an electric toothbrush, you probably have some questions about whether it's something you should try out. And before you randomly grab a brush, it's worth exploring the answers. Check in with Dr. Okamura at your next exam for personalized recommendations - and start doing some research at home with the help of our post below. Electric vs. Manual Toothbrushes: Pros and Cons We'll spoil the answer right now: the choice of manual vs. electric toothbrush really depends on the individual patient. There have not been conclusive studies that indicate that electric toothbrushes necessarily work better than manual toothbrushes. But what they do accomplish is make it easier ...
Feel like your oral hygiene could use an extra boost? Whether you’re looking for an extra clean feeling in between brushings, trying to improve your cavity prevention, or hoping to avoid gingivitis, a mouthwash could be useful. But with the staggering number of rinses on the drugstore shelf, how can you possibly pick the one that will work best? First off - it’s best to check in with your dentist before making changes to your oral hygiene routine. But if you’d like a little mouth rinse primer before your next dental exam, we’ve put together some straightforward tips below. Find the dental health concern that fits, and see which rinse is typically recommended. Whether you use mouthwash or not, you’ll want to schedule an exam every six months to best prevent cavities and gum disease. Why not set yours up today? Do I Even Need to use a Mouthwash? Important to remember: mouthwash is not ...
It's the first question on your lips every time you consider a new dental treatment. How affordable is this going to be? Do you have room in your budget? Is it going to be months of scrimping and pinching to be able to make these payments? Would-be Invisalign patients are incredibly curious about the price tag - and with good reason. Unfortunately, there isn't any easy answer to how much alternative orthodontics is likely to cost. Straightening teeth is complicated business, and there are many factors at play in determining how much you'll need to spend to complete Invisalign. But there are a few things you can look over to see what you can expect with you meet with an Invisalign provider. We've put together details below on how you can anticipate Invisalign fees. Of course, there's no substitute for a free consultation with our provider, Dr. Kim Okamura. She will examine ...
You don’t want to deal with gum disease. Periodontal treatment can be stressful - and you’ll need to follow up with a concerted effort to improve your oral hygiene and adapt your lifestyle and habits. Plus, gum disease is more likely to return once you’ve already experienced it - so you could be on the run from disease for years to come. And gum disease’s impact doesn’t necessarily stop at your gumline. While no definitive studies have been released, more and more research is suggesting that gum disease could impact other serious health conditions. Now is the time to take another look at your periodontal health - and this first step is setting up your next exam. The early signs of gingivitis aren’t always noticeable at home, and it takes an expert eye to spot a problem. Another benefit of scheduling regular exams? The mouth-body connection doesn’t just flow in one direction ...
Find your hand creeping toward your mouth when you're stressed out or bored? Nail biting is a problem for people of all ages - and it could be wreaking havoc on your teeth. Simply put, your nails are made of tougher stuff than your teeth should be dealing with. And tooth damage isn't the only reason nail biting is advised against by your healthcare professionals. If you've been biting your nails for years, you know about the disadvantages - you've experienced them firsthand. But it can be incredibly difficult to drop the habit for good. Many nail biters have had the habit for decades, or even since they had teeth to bite with. That's not to say that quitting is impossible. With some of the tips below, you can start reducing your biting and better protecting both your nails and your teeth. Why is Biting Your Nails Bad for Your Teeth? Nails are made of ...
You know that dental anxiety fills your dental exams with uncertainty and even fear. That’s bad enough - but what about the bigger ramifications it could have on your health? Dental anxiety is more than unease at the thought of dental care. It can actually have a long-term impact on your oral health - and a new study is showing that those effects are widespread. Before reading on to learn more about this study’s findings, we want to reiterate something we’ve discussed before on this blog - dental anxiety is possible to overcome. Even if you’ve been anxious about dental treatment since childhood, you can discover new ways to view your dental care and gain a more positive impression. And we can help. If you’re nervous about dental treatment and living in the Seattle area, we urge you to reach out and learn more about how Dr. Okamura can help you experience ...
The last thing you want to do is harm your child in any way. But with all the constantly changing recommendations for what’s best for kids’ dental health, how can you know exactly what’s the right choice, and what’s a potential misstep? One of the simplest ways to find a clear path forward is to check in regularly with your dentist. They’ll check your child’s teeth, make sure they’re developing properly, and answer any questions you might have. If you’re ever concerned about how their teeth are growing or whether their oral hygiene and diet are promoting good health, a professional will help. Reach out today with any questions! What to Know about Tooth Development How to Help Your Family Build Great Dental Health Your kids aren’t the only ones who will benefit from these tips. This is a great opportunity to get every member of your family on a healthy page. After all, ...
While Seattle summer might take a little longer to show up, it’s still on the way! With school almost out, you’re planning your family’s summer schedule and getting your kids’ activities lined up. Make sure that keeping their smiles safe is one of your priorities! Serious playground injuries have been on the rise in the last decade, and that’s a place that can be very dangerous for teeth. Of course, we need to accomplish tooth protection without smothering our kids. There’s a time and a place for mouth guards - we’re not saying that your kids should be wearing them whenever they’re outdoors. There are plenty of other ways to protect your little one’s pearly whites and still let them have some freedom. Check out our advice below, and let us know if you have any questions! As a quick reminder before the summer starts, summer is a convenient time to schedule ...
Marijuana has now been legal in Washington state for 4 ½ years. What has it changed about our oral health? That’s a question that only the dental professionals are probably asking at this point, but one that all cannabis users would benefit from. With more states following suit in legalization, it’s time for a national conversation about marijuana use’s effects on health. While many studies have examined its impact on respiratory health, memory, motor skills, and more, oral health has received less of a focus. But for those who are smoking marijuana as opposed to ingesting it, it’s important to consider the potential impact on the mouth. Marijuana and Gum Disease Risk A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that young marijuana smokers with heavy cannabis use are potentially at a higher risk of periodontal disease. Performed by New Zealand researchers, the study completed the first long-term ...